Marian Crampton Vantress
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Oakwood Memorial Chapel
3301 Paul Sweet Road
Santa Cruz, California, United States
(831) 475-2464

Obituary of Marian Joan Crampton Vantress

Our beloved “Mimi” passed away in Sunnyvale at 8:30 pm on Tuesday, February 19th at the age of 84, surrounded in love, having lived for nearly 11 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.


Marian was born in Fresno, California on July 17, 1934. Her father, Robert Cook Crampton, was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. He had come to California from Dallas, Texas and began his career in the spice business as a salesman for A. Schilling and Co. He climbed the corporate ladder over the years, eventually becoming the Executive Vice President of McCormick & Company. Her mother, Monica Irene Dempsey Crampton, was a well-known and lively socialite. Her family moved to San Francisco in 1936 where she and her brother, Robert James Crampton were raised, and Marian graduated from Lowell High School in 1952. She went on to study at UC Berkeley, where she was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and studied art, political science, english and science, and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and Economics in 1956.


She met and married I. Kenneth Vantress Jr. that same year (he, along with Marian's brother Robert, were also Executives with McCormick & Schilling) and they lived in San Francisco, Orinda and San Jose, raising four children, Robert, Sally, Michael and Mary.


Marian was a proud wife and mother but was also passionate about design, along with being determined and ambitious, which she attributed to her father. She started her own company, Vantress Design Associates, Inc., a commercial interior design and space planning firm, in 1972. They specialized in hotels, office spaces, national park accommodations, bars, restaurants, conversions, golf courses and luxury mobile home clubhouses. Eventually they expanded into contract office furniture dealerships for Westinghouse, Herman Miller and other manufacturers through its subsidiary, California Contract Furniture.


One of her proudest accomplishments in this capacity was the restoration and refurbishing of the famous 5-star Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. Other accounts included Yosemite Park and Curry Co. (MCA) from 1976 to 1993, which included refurbishing 2,000 rooms and guest facilities within the park in advance of the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Yosemite in 1993, Glacier National Park accommodations (Greyhound Food Management) from 1987 to 1993 (including refurbishing approximately 3,000 guest rooms for Many Glaciers, East Glacier Park Lodge, Lake McDonald Lodge and Prince of Wales in Waterton, Canada and other properties at Glacier); consulting and design contracts for refurbishments at Timberline Lodge in Oregon and the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California for 5 to 6 years each. Other select projects included the design and management of the remodel of the Plush Room Cabaret and Bar at the York Hotel in San Francisco in 1986, interior design of the Elderberry House in Oakhurst in 1987, new guest rooms and a conference room at Carmel Valley Ranch in 1998, remodel of Poppy Hills and Almaden Golf and Country Club dining rooms and clubhouse, the St. George Hotel in Santa Cruz, Coast Commercial Bank, Plantronics, Cisco Systems and other office projects. 


Throughout her life she was also involved in many philanthropic groups, such as the Santa Cruz Rotary Club (including serving on the Board of Directors), the Santa Cruz County Symphony and the Junior League of San Jose and, she co-founded the Tompte Chapter of the Children's Home Society. She was also a member of the Holy Spirit Church and the Almaden Golf and Country Club, where she enjoyed tennis and golf. She had many, many other interests as well, such as music, playing the piano, painting and art, dress designing, travelling, skiing, antique collecting, cooking, real estate investing and day trading, but also dabbled in other diverse activities such as spiritualism and astrology. (As she herself said many times, "I always had too many irons in the fire.") But, she was perhaps most well-known for her radiant smile. (She also knew how to throw a good party, which she always attributed to her mother.)


Marian lived in and around the bay area for most of her life and had a strong connection to the beach, having resided in coastal areas for 42 years. She lived in Rio Del Mar for a period of time, and she adored the cool air of Santa Cruz as it reminded her of the ocean breezes of her San Francisco youth.


Marian is survived by her son, Robert M. Vantress, daughter-in-law, Jeanne Vantress, daughter, Sally Vantress-Lodato, son-in-law Jim Lodato, daughter-in-law Kelly Vantress, daughter, Mary Vantress (formerly Painter) Cook, grandchildren, Lynn Painter, Kim Painter, Kaylee Painter, Kenny Painter, David Vantress, Tim Vantress, Julia Vantress, Nicole Vantress, Spencer Vantress, Michelle Lodato and Brian Lodato, and other extended family in Southern California and Maryland.

Marian was pre-deceased by the father of her children, I. Kenneth Vantress Jr., brother, Robert James Crampton, and son, Michael K. Vantress.


A Celebration of Life will be held at Santa Cruz Memorial-Oakwood Chapel located at 3301 Paul Sweet Road in Santa Cruz on Saturday, March 9th, at 1:00pm, with a reception to follow.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marian’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 8th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001, or online,

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